Smoldering Shorts

In my “odd things to write about someday” file, I recently came across an article I had clipped out of the newspaper last year. It described a rock band whose members had been arrested after a concert during which they set their underwear on fire.

You have to admit it’s a change from smashing guitars. I suspect the reason may be economic as much as creative—after all, it’s a lot cheaper to buy a new pair of briefs than to replace a guitar. My favorite part of the item, though, was the indignant quote from one of the band members who was upset about being arrested: “We know what we’re doing—we’re professionals!”

I’m not quite sure just how one becomes a professional at setting one’s underwear on fire. Maybe you have to take a class in order to get your brief-blazing certification. “Undergarment Incineration 105. Prerequisites: Sock Scorching 102 or Tee Shirt Torching 103. Additional fee for protective lab clothing must be paid at business office upon enrollment.”

If there were such a class, just think of the possibilities for the final test. Essay questions, probably, since this would obviously be a liberal arts course.

In 750 to 1000 words, compare and contrast the relative merits of setting one’s underwear on fire before or after removing it. Salient points to consider may include: possible crowd response, the presence or absence of working fire extinguishers, the quantity and distribution of body hair, and any desire on the part of the performer for future procreation.

In 500 to 750 words, discuss the historical role of alcohol and other drugs in underwear-burning rituals. Extra credit will be given to any student who, in an appropriate context and with grammatical correctness, uses “Fruit of the Loom” and “fruit of the vine” in the same sentence.

For extra credit, in 250 words, compare the flammability of nylon, cotton, and Spandex or discuss the advantages and disadvantages of boxers vs. briefs.

Students must cite at least three sources in each answer. AP style required. Full coverage of the topic is expected.

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